How to Confidently Rock a Red

There goes an old saying that when travelling across the world you afforded the opportunity to adopt the persona of who you want to be– a sort of façade on tour. One of the only times I found this to genuinely be the case was when shopping overseas – where instead of purchasing for the wardrobe of a sensible young adult of twenty-something of the public service profession, I shopped to satisfy a figment of my imagination of who I wanted to be in the ulterior universe they call – a holiday.

Apparently in this universe I dumped all my well-engrained rules of shopping of being practical, investing in timeless pieces and considering at least 5 outfits that I could make in conjunction with my current wardrobe. Apparently I left this sensible young adult at the departures gate of Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport and in this far-away land of the department store of De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam, stood a young lady drooling over an obnoxiously bright red bag – a piece I would have undoubtedly scoffed at if seen at Sydney Airport.  Mere moments later, on a whim, and in vain of the warnings of my cautious mother, I made the ultimate brash decision.

I bought it.


After flashing my not-so-flashy debit card, I walked through the department store and experienced a myriad of emotions in the mere 100 metres I had ventured –

First, joy and excitement that I finally purchased a bag that for so long I thought out of my reach.

Then set in the fact that I bought a red bag. Then came the mild apprehension that I,  had purchased a bag in a colour that I previously despised as being obnoxious, flashy and hard to wear.

Then came the wild neurotic thoughts of how does one even wear red?

What have I done?

I don’t even have the gusto to sport red lipstick!

I frantically snapchatted my friends on the other side of the world – desperately seeking affirmation that I did the right thing spending my fortnightly income on a fluorescent red bag! The affirmation never came – instead confused and dazed messages of “you hate red?!”, “you’ve never worn red?!” and “why not black or nude?!”.

That evening, whilst experiencing my come down from the high of owning a bag I had admired for so long, I realised the most logical means of learning how to rock a red was to contact bloggers I admired who were fearless and unopolgestic with their choice of colour, styles and patters over twitter seeking advice and pointers.

No response.

I progressed to googling and pintresting how celebrities pulled off a red and soonrealised that perhaps that responsible 20-something year old of the public service had not been in fact deserted at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, instead she was on a later flight and finally arrived to meet me. The realisation that contrary to the not-so-helpful suggestions of Google, I cannot and will not pull off an off-duty slinky black dress or fur coat in conjunction with my red like the always fabulous and awe inspiring Olivia Palermo. I realised my purchase was most probably in vain and that it would be prudent to determine how much my recent acquisition would fetch on the second-hand consignment market in Sydney for another confident and blindsided holiday maker to enjoy at my expense.

Throughout the rest of my trip – I slowly found ways of wearing my flaming red bag – undoubtedly the “portray yourself the way you want to be” mantra rearing its mischievous head again. From there on, my concerns were history (not without my fair share of disasters) as I learnt how to fearlessly sport a bold red. I mean if Samantha from Sex and the City can do it – then why not me?

image21. Don’t overthink it

Somewhere between looking like Ronald McDonald gone wrong and looking like a walking Spanish race/red cape, I realised that the golden rule of fashion of matching your bag to your shoes and your shoes to your belt had to be thrown out the window.After neurotically searching for items of clothing that matched the exact hue of red of my new bag, I learnt they call it a ‘pop’ of colour for a reason.  Gone are the days of looking like a walking ‘pop’ of colour.

2. Turn the red into your daily

If you would have told me merely six months ago that a bright red bag would be my daily bag – I would have laughed in your face, but alas, it is.

Remove the connotations that red as a colour has and as why do we classify the colour as flamboyant, sexy, mischievous and perhaps too self-confident?Why do we classify people who wear the colour as having these personality and/or lifestyle attributes?

Bluntly, it’s because we’re fundamentally judgemental creatures. Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.

Wear the damn bag/shoe/lip everyday – over time it will become just that – a bag/shoe/lip.

3. Don’t invest in a whole new wardrobe to accommodate a new piece

Google taught me that striped and nautical inspired clothing compliments a red. One issue – I’m no sailor, nor do I appreciate nautical themes. I don’t even own a striped shirt.

Nada. Nothing. It’s just not me.

Don’t feel the need to completely alter your wardrobe or style to accomodate one piece of clothing to satisfy the advice of pseudo bloggers and google advice. I promise that once you start wearing your colour with your exisiting wardrobe, you will soon realise that perhaps living and dressing by the books is boring and counter-intuitive. Make mistakes and look ridiculous once in a while – all in good faith and in the pursuit of fun and style.

3. Adopt that fearless holiday spirit as your everyday mantra

Not all twenty-something year old Government employees have to be boring, right?

4. “When in doubt, wear red!” – Bill Blass


P.s I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologise to my mother from my twelve-year-old self, for pestering you about your choice of wearing red bags and shoes in the early 2000’s. If it’s any consolation – the apple never falls too far from the tree.

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